Formalities in Port Operations in the UAE in 2022

Posted by Al Rowaad Advocates & Legal Consultants on October 25th, 2022

Maritime trade accounts for almost ninety percent of the world’s commerce. This distinction is because it is the most cost-effective and efficient mode of transport, especially for a large volume of goods. Adding value to the maritime trade, the UAE seaports are an essential sector driving both economic growth and development in the region. The UAE has several seaports such as Jebel Ali, Mina Rashid, Zayed Port, Fujairah Port, Khalifa Port, amongst others. Of these, at least two ports have been listed within the top fifty container ports in the world by the World Shipping Council.

The UAE ports account for almost sixty-one per cent of the cargo destined for GCC states of Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia (and UAE), and these cargos arrive through the UAE. The UAE boasts of twelve commercial trading ports separate from the oil ports, containing 310 berths and a cargo tonnage of 80 million tons.

Covid Challenges: 

The Covid -19 pandemic has undoubtedly had a deep commercial impact on the UAE ports and business operations. However, whilst facing new challenges, the UAE ports have affected definitive and proactive measures to ensure the welfare of personnel’s, seafarers and port operators. Showcasing its capability and effective management, the UAE is poised to provide a regional hub for cargoes, catering to the requirement of the industries in the wider Gulf, especially, Saudi Arabia.

The pandemic has also seen the test and trial of new strategies such as the catering of entire ships in a bid to secure the supply lines. However, whether this proves to be a beneficial strategy is yet to be seen as chartered ships will not ensure in itself any separate concession at ports.

In the task to mitigate the risks posed by the pandemic, the ports have implemented a variety of safety measures that include standard sterilization, use of personal protective equipment and heightened medical checks. The Dubai ports and anchorage covering the ports of Rashid, DMC, Dubai Dry Dock and Dubai Anchorage have recently issued new rules concerning crew change formalities that require a pre-approved ninety-six hours crew visa to sign on or off. The ninety-six hours crew will be issued for the joining crew arriving from the countries that have low infection cases. However, no specific list has been declared listing the denoted countries, which is understandably due to the requirement for constant monitoring of the situation on a global level. Further, is it also required for the crew to hold a valid negative PCR test with a validity of seventy-two hours and the crew is required to arrive or deport from the Dubai airports within the validity of such PCT test report.

Since August 2020 the UAE has formally signed the Abraham Accords normalizing its relations with Israel, which is expected to boost the UAE economy and the entire middle east region with increased collaboration in economy, trade, medicine and technology. UAE ports will continue to drive both economic growth and diversification in the region with a strong focus on maritime safety in accordance with international standards.


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Al Rowaad Advocates & Legal Consultants
Joined: February 3rd, 2021
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